Chartered Architectural Technologist | MCIAT, MSc. BIM, BSc. Arch. Tech.

Copenhagen Architecture

Category : Architecture

As an Architectural Technologist, my role in architecture is to analyse and assess the technical reality of building designs, both before and after construction. On a recent visit to Copenhagen in Denmark, I was impressed by the modern architecture and its juxtaposition to the traditional buildings. Around 10 or so years ago, I became familiar with Danish modern architecture through Bjarke Ingels work.

Danish culture seems quite practical yet with appreciating enjoyment in life at the same time, similar to their philosophy of Hygge. This is evident in their architecture and a good example of this is Architect Bjarke Ingels of


His buildings break the rules of plain box architecture, yet it delivers functionality unimaginable to most people, myself included. His project The Mountain, is a ground breaking interpretation of apartment living yet residents enjoy stepped gardens with exceptional views. The undercroft space of the building, is used as a public car park instead of packing in endless apartments with lower quality living experience for residents. The car park generates turnover for the owner, while the apartments are of the highest quality in finish and design. Each unit has a garden space larger than a usual balcony with a hanging garden of greenery to ground the sky view and reduce overlooking.

The Mountain is so called because of it’s stacked nature that appears structured but feels quite organic in form when you are up close to the building. The undercroft car park is clad in perforated metal that at a relatively close distance and quite far distance forms a mountain range graphic. This adds to the intrigue and interest of this building as it sits in it’s suburban context served by a lengthy cycle path leading 5kms direct to the city center.

The Mountain is a refreshing reflection of Danish architecture that delivers high quality apartment living.

Initial Design Stage – Energy Analysis in Autodesk FormIt & Insight

Category : Architecture
Initial Design Stage – Energy Analysis in Autodesk FormIt & Insight

This is a blog post on using Autodesk FormIt Pro and Autodesk Insight 360, in this case I have chosen a nice site in West Cork. To see how the building will be impacted by solar, shadow and glazing or varying orientation you can use Insight to give you an early analysis of these factors. A two storey holiday home in West Cork is a nice place to start!..

To start… Open FormIt

1. Locate Site

Navigate to the location symbol in the top toolbar > Type in an address in the search bar > Locate your site > Finish Import.

2. Draw Building

Use the line tool to sketch a footprint of your building. Once you place the line you can click in the dimension and enter a preferred dimension.

3. Extrude Footprint

Hover over the plane and click to extrude to a desire height.

4. Change Height

To change the height click in the dimension and enter your preferred height.

5. Create Levels

To generate an Insight, FormIt requires that levels are set to the mass.

Navigate to the symbol tool in your side bar (shown as two level heads with lines). Select Add Mulitple Levels and in this case I want to Levels (Ground & First Floor) at 3m height.

6. Apply Levels

To apply levels, double click your mass so it highlights Blue.

Navigate to the properties tab on the right hand side and select Use Levels. A blue line will appear to show that the levels have been applied.

7. Shadow Analysis

As above see how the shadows are at different times of the year or day.

8. Solar Analysis

Still within the shadow analysis dialogue box, click the solar analysis and your model should change colour.

As you hover over a face of your mass, kWh/sq m of solar energy will appear on the building.

9. Generate Insight

Click the 19.1 symbol and Generate Insight option. This should take a few minutes (5 in my case). It sends the data to Autodesk Cloud for analysis

Once that is complete the View insight Option will be available to select and this will bring you to Insight 360 in your web browser.

10. Insight 360

The analysis automatically applies glazing to the model to allow it to test options of how % of glazing may affect each facade.

As you scroll through the widgets you can inspect for example how 90% coverage of PV panels might impact the running costs of your building.

11. Setting Utility Costs

In the top left of your browser click Back to Insight

Within settings under the cog symbol on the right hand side you can set utility rates to Irish Rates.

Insight is a great tool for early design analysis and is very easy to create geometry within Formit and direct workflow into Insight.

Architectural Workflows Design to Site

Category : Architecture

This post will take a brief overview of design, tender, construction to on site completion using a range of software to support each stage. The software is as crucial to each stage as are people and the processes form the 3 factors that lean of each other, without one it will be less effective. Each of the topics covered in this post will be further explored in the coming weeks…



Using an iPad and Autodesk FormIt Pro, a massing of geometry is created to determine our site constraints. Geo Locating of the site within FormIt will allow a shadow analysis to see any impact from or to the site context.


A solar analysis is then performed to see how the sun will impact on building orientation.



An energy assessment of the building by generating an Insight analysis further informs on building operational average costs taking into account glazing ratio, orientation, window type and various other factors.



Using the collaborate feature within FormIt, the geometry can be presented and discussed with the client by sharing a link while they and you are in completely different locations.
Taking geometry from FormIt into Revit is an integrated workflow using the plugin within Revit. This means your are not updating a separate 3D file in parallel to your design drawings. All of the imported geometry can be converted into Revit object types.


Detailed Design

Having brought your model and drawings to a level of detail using construction detailing and Revit types then further using that model to leverage additional information.


Within Revit construction rates can be applied to for example wall types, can have a square meter or linear rate, it will probably best to agree the rate with a QS or take it from a recent project.



In addition, all of the rates and their associated object or building elements can be scheduled into a spreadsheet of quantities required and then checked against a QS Bill of Quantities.



Taking the Revit model and bringing it to site. What does this mean ?? Ok, so we are used bring drawings to site, what if we could access the drawings on an iPad ? This is done using BIM 360 Field or BIM 360 Docs, Issues and inspections can be assigned to locations and accessed on site through your 3D Model on an iPad.



A Digital Roadmap For Ireland’s Construction Industry

Category : Architecture

In December 2017 Ireland’s National BIM Council published the Roadmap to Digital Transition For Ireland’s Construction Industry 2018-2021. The release of the roadmap is seen as a positive leap towards BIM focused technologies & workflows in Ireland. The 2021 Vision set out in the roadmap aims to increase collaboration, reduce design & construction time and connect information digitally. The roadmap is underpinned by the BIM Innovation Capability Programme, a global study researching how other countries are approaching BIM at a national scale. The roadmap channels this global research by identifying Leadership, Standards, Education & Procurement as the four main areas to drive the construction sector to digitisation in Ireland.

 “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed”. – William Ford Gibson

Image Source –

The key targets of the roadmap aim for open standard 3D models to be used within a planning or building compliance context. This will support automated processes and drive efficiencies within public departments. Over 30% in a process can be wasteful labour or materials, the roadmap aims to bring this down to 20% and in turn reducing construction costs. This will be implemented through driving education across all business sizes from Large Multi nationals to Small & Medium Enterprises. The SME consideration is mentioned significantly throughout the roadmap to support training. Ireland accounts for 12% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Europe yet only 1% of GDP, this is a good opportunity to increase construction exports through goods and services in overseas markets.  Reducing delivery time of projects by 20% across the design and construction phase will bring further efficiencies to the industry. Centralising project information and digital collaboration is key to driving this time reduction. Contributing digital information from our construction data is valuable to smart growth, communities and cities. This will support Ireland being a key leader of digital transformation across Europe and globally.

To achieve the roadmap targets, leadership within the public and private supply chain will create a frame to support the industry. While adopting standards in line with International and EU Standards to ensure Ireland can increase collaboration, through open standards and similar documents in line with PAS1192. Having this common standard enhances construction information being shared and the opportunity for exporting construction services. An education and training initiative that includes SME’s is noted as being an important element to drive the digital transition. The final part of the roadmap targets procurement as the area to drive a Government Mandate. Several publicly procured projects have already mandated BIM and are being used as pilot schemes. The Grangegorman redevelopment in Dublin is a €2 Billion public project that has had several stages of completed construction in the past 12 months. This project is seen as a key driver of BIM in Ireland.

To support the 20% time reduction, 20% exports increase and 20% cost reduction a wider uptake of technology and education can support this achievable target within Ireland. As we move forward to train and support companies moving to BIM, the technology and support are intricate elements to make the roadmap successful.

Subscribe to our Digital Transition webinar series or register to watch recordings:

  1. Feb 7thFive Ways a BIM workflow supports Ireland’s Roadmap to Digital Transition
  2. 21stHow BIM can automate your Irish Building Regulation & Planning Compliance
  3. Mar 13thDigital Collaboration on BIM Projects in Ireland

Image Source – National BIM Council /

Download PDF Roadmap Document – Roadmap to Digital Transition For Ireland’s Construction Industry 2018-2021

Revit used for a Small Project – A real-world use case…

Category : Architecture, BIM
Revit used for a Small Project – A real-world use case…

1-mask-rd_lt-sheet_-101-proposed-drawingsA good example of Revit used for a Small House Extension in Dublin that I was involved with previously. Some of my first-hand experienced benefits using Revit on this project…

Faster Process:
Traditional process of creating 2D drawings that aren’t connected reduces drawing efficiency. Model in 3D using Revit and all your drawings, schedules, quantities, 3D views are produced automatically and share identical information.

Accurate Drawings:
If one element updates then they all update, delete a window in elevation, it deletes in plan, section, 3D, schedule, quantity. Cut a section through your 3d model automatically using section line.

3D Cloud Rendering:
Autodesk cloud rendering that takes less than 10 minutes for a high quality render to return. Offering further & accurate communication of your design to clients and colleagues.

Constant 3D Views:
Want to see how a tricky junction or detail will appear on site, without figuring it out. Create a 3D View and watch it develop instantly as you add detail. An added benefit of constant 3D Views, you are constantly thinking in physical 3D elements.

By applying phases to model elements for example: existing & proposed, your demolition sections are automatically coloured

The list goes on…

BIM for Small Practices

Category : Architecture

BIM is not only for large projects, see the attached project as an example of efficient design & drawing process using Revit to produce a planning application; drawings & 3d models as well as constant project visuals during the design process.

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